Abstract

The establishment of fourteen Little Ice Age (LIA) glacier chronologies in the Mt. Waddington area led to the development of an extended history of glacial activity in this portion of the southern British Columbia Coast Mountains, Canada. The glaciers were located within four different mountain ranges, and were of varying size and aspect. Dendrochronological and lichenometric techniques were used to provide relative age estimates of moraines formed as glacier termini retreated from advanced positions. Evidence for pre-LIA glacial events is best preserved at Tiedemann Glacier, where the oldest glacial advances date to A.D. 620 and 925–933. Soil-covered and well-vegetated moraines built at Cathedral, Pagoda, and Siva glaciers date to between A.D. 1203 and 1226. Following this event, moraines constructed at Ragnarok, Siva, and Cathedral glaciers in the mid-14th century suggest glaciers in the region underwent a period of downwasting and retreat before readvancing. The majority of moraines recorded in the Mt. Waddington area describe late-LIA glacial events shown to have constructed moraines that date to A.D. 1443–1458, 1506–1524, 1562–1575, 1597–1621, 1657–1660, 1767–1784, 1821–1837, 1871–1900, 1915–1928, and 1942–1946. Over the last 500 years, these moraine-building episodes were shown to occur on average every 65 years and suggest there has been prolonged synchronicity in the glaciological response to persistent climate-forcing mechanisms. Nevertheless, our analysis suggests that local factors, such as aspect and size, play an important role in individual glacial response. Notably, ice termini of medium-size glaciers facing eastwards showed a quicker response to climatically induced mass balance changes.

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